Tag Archives: bollywood

BOOK CORNER: Amitav Ghosh … A CRITICAL COMPANION

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

Amitav Ghosh

A CRITICAL COMPANION

Edited by Tabish Khair

    In the next twenty minutes or so I would take you through one of the finest pieces of narration. Where, one legend describes the other. Yes, when, Amitav Ghosh describes Satyajit Ray this is all one can say. Amitav Ghosh is a winner of 54th Jnanpith award and also a Padma Shri. I have pulled out this narration from a book titled ‘Amitav Ghosh … a critical companion.’ I have summarised and simplified the article for you to the best of my ability.

    Amitav in this article of his, has gone back to 1989. When he was enjoying his extended stay in the overwhelming city of New York. He had then finished writing of The Shadow Lines. The novel for some reason had a striking influence of Ray in it.

    He was then struck by a sudden wave of Ray nostalgia. And it struck to him that Ray too had once been a stranger in this city and that he too had walked the streets of Manhattan in Kolkata—bought shoes.

     One day, these pent up thoughts propelled Amitav to meet director James Ivory, who he knew to be a good friend of Ray. And later that week he went to interview Ivory, cassette recorder in hand. This is how Ivory described his first meeting with Ray, in the winter of 1960.

    “I looked him up in Calcutta,’ Ivory said. I had never met him. I had seen at that point, Pather Panchali (Song of the Road) and Aparijito (Undefeated). I knew that Apur Sansar (The World of Apu) existed and that sooner or later it would get to New York, but up till then it hadn’t come. And then some Indian friends of mine in Delhi said that apart from The Trilogy he had also made some other films in that time—the late fifties. They described Jalsaghar (The Music Room) to me and that sounded like something I would love to see. Then I made a long trip to Calcutta and went down to Puri and Bhubaneshwar and Madras. While I was in Calcutta I just decided to call him. Just to meet him, but also to ask him if it would be possible to see Jalsaghar. My friend in Delhi said he was very approachable (which he was) and I just called him up. He was in the phone book, so I just called him up and told him who I was. He said fine, he would try and arrange Jalsaghar for me. We agreed to meet in Coffee House and I went there. He was alone and we talked.

    He was immensely tall; he was probably the tallest Indian I have ever met and that seemed symbolically apt. He had a kind of straight forward majesty about him; he was obviously a king, but he was an approachable king. We were friends all his life as long as he lived. Whenever there was something he needed we tried to help. He always helped us. When there was some tremendous thing that would happen to us in the course of our own movie making in India—for instance when Utpal Dutt was put in prison (for his Maoist sympathies) while we were making ‘The Guru’ he helped to get him out. He called up or wrote to Mrs Gandhi and said this is a disgrace, this shouldn’t be allowed—things like that.”

    I asked Ivory what they talked about at that first meeting. ‘He was waiting in the coffee house.’ Ivory said, ‘while the censor was seeing Devi (the Coffee House was in the shadow of the Metro Cinema). Then somebody came from his staff and said that Devi had gone down well with the censors. He was kind of nervous about it because of the retrograde view of Hindu life at its most superstitious let’s say. He was afraid they would make him cut it. But no, it had gone down all right, and he said, would I like to come to the premiere of it, which I did, so I saw the film at the premiere and I was also introduced to Sharmila Tagore, who was very young then. And then he arranged for me to see ‘Jalsaghar’ so he went to the studio in Tollygunge where he made all his films and he sat next to me and translated for me at important moments. I thought it was a marvellous, marvellous movie and I jumped up and told him so at the end. He was surprised that I thought it was so marvellous. He said, well, he thought technically it wasn’t so good, wasn’t quite up to the mark. I said well, it didn’t strike me like that and I asked if there were any plans to show it in the west for I thought people would really like it. He said no, he didn’t have any plans. It had been shown at the Moscow Film Festival but the Russians didn’t like it because they thought it was decadent and that had discouraged him. I said, I thought he might get a different reception in the west if he pursued it. It was released here in the fall of 1963, and as you know a few years ago it was released in Paris and it was a tremendous success—ran for a year or something.’

    Ray was to collaborate with James Ivory and Ismail Merchant on two of their films: he wrote the music of Shakespeare-wallah and helped with the editing of ‘The Householder.’ I asked Ivory how the collaboration had come about.’ After ‘Householder’ was edited,’ he said ‘he still seemed very unwieldy, not very nicely done. I didn’t really have a very good editor—by this time I had met him (Ray) and I asked if I could bring the film to show him. He said sure come on. So Ismail (Merchant) and I climbed on the train—we took the Hindi version of it, all those cans, there must have 24 cans or something. We went from Bombay to Calcutta with all that film. He saw it and liked it—he thought there was something there to work with. I asked him whether he could give us any suggestions about the cutting and he said, yes. He would recut it, but he didn’t want me to interfere while doing that. He said let me have a go at it, I’ll do it my way, you can be in the editing room if you want to be, when we’re all done you can change it if you want to, that’s your business, but let me do what I want to do. So then, he and his editor Dulal Dutt recut the film. They took about four days, and gave it a new shape. It was he (Ray) who suggested that it go into a flashback form.

    Ray was always awfully generous with his time, always, always. I don’t know how he did it; because there was always many many people there, who wanted things done, people who just came to catch a glimpse of him and so on. How he had any kind of life of his own and how he made his movies I don’t know.

    Pather Panchali, to my mind the greatest of Ray’s films, was completed in 1955. It premiered not in Kolkata, but in New York, at the museum of Modern Art. This is how it came about: in 1954 Huston was on his way to India to scout locations for The Man Who Would Be King, when he came to hear of a young advertising-executive who was making a film on a tiny budget. By the time Huston arrived in Kolkata, the film had been stalled for several months, because of lack of money. At the time of Huston’s visit the dominant genre in India was the Bombay film. Ray’s work took Huston by surprise. It was apparent from the rushes that this film belonged in a different order of film-making. Huston was quick to recognize the genius of work. He viewed only twenty-minutes or so of the film, but recalling the occasion in 1987, he said: I’ recognised the footage as the work of a great film-maker.’ Returning to the United States, Huston’s reports of the film were instrumental in persuading the Museum of Modern Art to send Ray some money. MOMA’s advance went a long way towards the completion of Pather Panchali.

    Hollywood had long cast a binding spell on Ray: he was an ardent admirer of such American film-makers as John Ford and Billy Wilder. Although he never worked there. Hollywood came to play a peculiarly serendipitous role in his life; never more so than when one of his idols, John Huston, made it possible for him to complete Pather Panchali. And thus it happened that this most famous of contemporary Indian films premiered not in Kolkata or Mumbai, but in New York. It was first shown at the Museum of Modern Art in April 1955, to a small invited audience.

    Pather Panchali was released in the US (by Edward Harrison) in September 1958 at New York’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. The release was the occasion of Ray’s first visit to the country: he was then thirty-seven. The reception of the film was by no means uniformly enthusiastic. As Ivory describes it: ‘There was a famous review by Bosley Crowther which was meant to have been such a putdown. I read that again the other day and actually he was trying to like it. He was baffled, he made false assumptions, he didn’t really know what to say, but he had to admit that he knew or felt, somehow, dimly that there was something great there and he better not say something too bad about it. And apparently there were many people who wrote angry letters about his review.”

    Thirty one years later, in Columbia University’s Butler Library, I dug up a copy of an interview that Ray gave to Howard Thompson (of the New York Times) on the day of the release. Ray evidently made quite an impression on Thompson: ‘A strapping swarthy chap, with strong features, he (Ray) talks like a realistic poet, without the slightest foreign accent, looking fresh from the American gridiron.’

    Thompson continues: ‘On the day after his arrival he (Ray) stepped inside a fashionable hotel dining room, comfortably clad in occidental garb, and gamely stooped to let the head waiter pin on a Plaza tie. Presently, wearing a casually alert expression, the big rangy Calcuttan sat at a table, opening a package of cigarettes with long, tapering fingers. He had been up early, he said, just walking, camera in hand, an old habit of ‘an old film fam.’

    This is how Ray described the filming of Pather Panchali to Thompson: ‘We shot in and around Calcutta, then had to stop for six months because I was flat broke. I even sold part of my record collection, some old seventy-eights of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven—and part of my wife’s jewelry, not that her mother knew. All that was shown again to the same (financiers). No reaction. Then a year’s gap.’

    Ray was able to continue filming only because of an unlikely intervention: a powerful West Bengal politician, reputed to be ‘close’ to one of Ray’s aunts, authorised a grant from the state government. He was under the impression evidently, that Pather Panchali was a documentary about community development.

    In response to a question about the future of Indian film, Ray told Thompson: ‘I don’t know if our pictures generally will ever spread to a world market, though we have two or three young directors with the right ideas. Our industry centers productionally in Bengal, Madras and Bombay, but those from Bengal are better, more serious. As for why you don’t see more of ours—well, we have our own problems and we’re not so sure Westerners care.’

    ‘The generous mouth widened slightly,’ Thompson continues. ‘Do you?’ he enquired. The penetrating brown eyes twinkled pensively.

    Looking back now, I am sure more than ever aware of the part that Ray played in shaping the imaginary universe of my childhood and youth. I see this even in such details as my interest in science and science fiction; in ghost stories and the fantastical. One of my favourite Ray films to this day, remains Paras Pathar (The Philosopher’s Stone), a neglected masterpiece that deserves a place of honour in the canon of surrealist cinema. When I saw Agantuk (The Stranger), in which the main character is an anthropologist, I began to wonder whether my interest in anthropology too, owed something, perhaps subconsciously, to Ray: I recalled suddenly that references to anthropology go back to some of his earliest work, starting with the African mask in Apur Sansar.

    Ray’s influence extended even to the material world that I inhabited in my early years; a world which he formed to a quite astonishing degree through his influence on typography and through his visual style—a style that was itself a development on a distinctive design traditions of Bengal. That he could exert such great influence was due in part to the fact that this work extended and developed the legacy of the generations preceding his. His greatness as an artist is no way diminished by the fact that he was a rivet in an unbroken chain of aesthetic and intellectual effort that stretches back to mid-nineteenth century—a chain in which I too am, I hope, a small link.

    Ray was for me, not just a great artist; he was something even rarer; an artist who had crafted his life so that it could serve as an example to others. In a world where people in the arts are often expected, even encouraged, to be mindful of those around them, he was exemplary in his dealings with people. This was, I think one of the reasons why he was able to sustain his creative energies for as long as he did: because he refused to make a fetish of himself. As a student I had heard him speak on several occasions: it always seemed to me that there was something very private about his manner. I had the sense that it was by holding the world at arm’s length that he had managed to be as productive as he had. This was a stance I respected then and respect even more today, now that I am more aware of how easy it is to be distracted by the demands of public life.

    Ray was consistent in fighting off the pressures of the wider world. After the success of Pather Panchali he was feted by Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. It was a measure of his integrity that he never allowed their praise and attention to distract him from his own projects. Unlike many other film-makers in India, Ray consciously avoided seeking government financing for his projects, preferring to raise the money from commercial sponsors. He was always deeply aware of his audience in Kolkata and gloried in the discipline they imposed on him—primarily that of keeping his work accessible. This meant that he could never permit himself the luxury of avant-gardism in the manner of his European contemporaries such as Fellini, Bergman and Godard: nor indeed did he ever want to. To the end one of his greatest strengths was his ability to resolve enormously complex plots and themes into deceptively simple narrative structures.

    My favourite Ray story is one I came upon soon after I learnt of the appalling human cost of Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Once, while filming an overhead shot, a falling piece of machinery gravely injured a studio-hand who was working on one of Ray’s sets. Ray never used an overhead shot again.

    In 1992 when Hollywood awarded him an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, Ray was so ill that he received the award lying in his hospital bed. The scene was broadcast on TV and when I saw it I realized that Ray’s illness was so serious that he might not recover. I had always assumed I would meet Ray one day, but I had never made an effort to seek him out. He was such an integral part of my imaginative world that I’d fought shy of meeting him face-to-face: what can one possibly say to someone to whom one owes so great a debt? In 1989 and 1990 I had had several telephone conversations with him. In one of them he’d told me that he greatly enjoyed my first novel, The Circle of Reason. Now I saw that it was I who had been remiss in expressing my admiration and gratitude. In light of his condition this assumed a sudden urgency. I decided to write a letter to Ray, asking if I could visit him. My letter began:

    Dear Mr Ray,

    I have wanted to write to you for many years now, but have always put it off because I knew it would not be easy to say what I wanted too …

It ended:

    The Japanese have a custom which allows people to pay homage to artists they admire by standing outside their houses, alone and in silence, until they are invited in. you are the only person in the world for whom I would gladly do that …

    The letter was dated February 6, 1992. I gave it to Shri Nirmalaya Acharya, a close associate of Ray’s and himself one Kolkata’s legendary literary figures (now sadly deceased and much-missed by all who knew him). Nirmalaya-babu promised to hand it to Ray once he was well enough to read. Alas that day never came: Satyajit Ray died on April 23 1992.

    The day of Satyajit Ray’s death was like none that Kolkata had ever seen before. When the news began to spread, a pall of silence descended on the city. Next morning hundreds of thousands of people filed past his body, braving the intense heat. In the evening when his body was taken to the crematorium, the streets were thickly lined up with people standing in silent vigil. Many held up placards which referred to him as ‘The King.’ The whole city was sunk in an inexpressible sadness: everybody knew that an era had ended, and with it, Kolkata’s claim to primacy in arts. The city was orphaned: its king was gone and there was none to take his place.

    I wandered the streets for hours that night, watching the silent crowds, reading the placards. I was surprised by the depth of my own sense of loss. Yet I was conscious also of an immense sense of privilege, of gratitude, that having been born in Kolkata I had, in some small way, been endowed with a special entitlement to Ray’s universe; gratitude at having had his work to illuminate my surroundings and my past. This is what narrative arts do, at their very best: they shape the world as they relate them. To this day Ray’s work is one of the main anchors that moors me—often despite myself—to the imaginative landscape of Bengal: indeed, to the essential terrain of my own work.

Amitav Ghosh

January 17, 2002

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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LONELINESS–I’M IN ELECTRONIC COMPANY

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

    My home is like a neat diagram of wilderness now. Things are only quiet here. Life’s hullabaloo is over. There aren’t any vital unanswered questions left in my life to be unraveled any more … barring the ultimate one—death. But surprisingly, I have been handed out, some stiff situations in life that I never asked for in the first place, and that of course includes, certain wayward realities … the most striking one being, loneliness. After deep introspection, it appears to me like those divine semaphores. There is a world of emptiness around me.  It’s taken me more than sixty years to reach this stage. But I didn’t have to struggle for it, the way I struggled for my career and the upbringing of my family. It came on its own, uninvited. I stay in a megapolis—infested largely by a swarm of people occupying those tall blaring buildings all around me. Yet I’m all alone. And what an irony. For in a jungle, I would have been with, unknown but ferocious animals. But in the megapolis I’m with familiar yet unpredictable human beings. Nonetheless, I really can’t decipher which is more dangerous.

    I have a time deprived family. They keep extremely busy. Mostly fire-fighting. So one day I approached God. Thinking he’ll give me company. But then he too has to run the universe, and so, he is very busy in his own world and doesn’t have time for me. Finally, I’ve learnt to live life king size, alone. So I keep busy one way or another. They say life has become easy, yet mind is never at rest. There is always something spooky about life that keeps hovering around me.

    No one comes to my house, and when I attempt to visit someone I’m told they are going out. The timidity to interface … thus continues. I’m told this happens with most of us but we rarely speak about it.

    But, ever since, flesh and blood averted me. My electronic friends have come to my rescue. I have them in droves, steadying my life. I start my day with them. In the night they take that extra pain to put me off to sleep. The smart phones and TV sets bring, so many of my electronic friends to my home each day.

    I now have electronic friends in the likes of Mr Bachchan visiting me all day long showing little gimmicks loaded with huge parables. Where, Arnab Goswami tells me all about the world. Even, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walks into my house in his own electronic attire to tell me how he is serving India and even Rahul Gandhi and Donald Trump are not far away. To top it all, entire Youtube, Bollywood and even Hollywood is at my command.

    Loneliness is the biggest scourge of the present day world. Yet life finds solutions for each catastrophe. Just as you can’t think of a life without flesh and blood, you can’t think of a life without your own electronic friends anymore. Can you?

    This is to cajole all those who suffer because of loneliness. Rise up … get up … do something to kill it.

***

  By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THE GIRL IN ROOM 105 … by Chetan Bhagat

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE GIRL IN ROOM 105

By Chetan Bhagat

    Chetan Bhagat this time has tried his hand in a different genre. From writing love stories he has tried to move to a thriller that has romance … melodrama and even suspense. Although, he has tried to shift in the category. He continues to remain in the same quadrangle … IIT. A place he loves the most … I guess. As the story largely unfolds there.

    The book is full of masala … only a little short of the proverbial … Bhan mati ka pitara. The novel navigates, giving an impression as if it’s been written for a Bollywood movie. At one place I am even reminded of Hindi movie ‘Parwana’ starring Amitabh Bachchan and Navin Nischol released in 1971.

    Chetan has written this book with a lot flashbacks. I would have preferred the book to be around 225 to 250 pages and not 300 pages. As the last fifty pages are a bit of a drag. Also one is more comfortable with the disclosure of suspense within 250 pages as it becomes difficult to hold on beyond that.

    Author has used a lot of cuss words including some Hindi abuses that only mars his own reputation. His language as usual is clumsy. But he has done some good detailing with respect to the portions where the main protagonist endeavours to solve the murder and has used the right terminologies when it comes to technical words.

    The book can also be classified as a love story with murder mystery as an inbuilt plot.

    All prominent characters of the book are alive barring one till the end. In fact around the last 30 pages at one place I found the presentation a tad similar to a Hollywood movie—Murder by Death written by Neil Simon.

    STORYLINE

    Keshav Rajpurohit is an ex IIT student. After passing out from IIT he could never find himself a lucrative job in the corporate sector. So he joins a coaching centre as a faculty that coaches students for IIT entrance. With him is also his durable friend Saurabh who also happens to be his room partner, or I should say his house partner and also his colleague in the coaching centre and his batch mate from IIT.

    It once so happens, that Keshav bumps into Chetan Bhagat on a flight where he starts narrating the story of his girlfriend Zara to him. Zara is the second main character of this novel.

    Keshav had met Zara some seven years back. Their friendship gradually evolved into a strong courtship and finally into a hot love affair. But since their families were quite different. His coming from Alwar where his father was a senior member of the RSS, and where, Zara was from a Muslim family from Kashmir. A divide was but obvious and separation a strong possibility.

    After this Raghu a Tamilian Brahmin enters Zara’s life. An industrious person, again a pass out from IIT, now an owner of a thousand crore start-up company. Raghu is not a good looking. So when Zara discusses marriage he readily agrees, and he even agrees to convert to Islam. Both are thus engaged and even a date for their wedding is announced.

    But Keshav, after the breakup is unable to forget Zara. He therefore out of lovelorn, starts boozing regularly and even gets into binge drinking. Keshav tries his best to win over Zara once again, but fails in all his attempts.

    But surprisingly on Zara’s birthday. Keshav receives a whatsapp message from her. She invites him to her hostel room which is 105, in Himadri, IIT Delhi. Keshav goes to meet her at 3 in the morning along with his friend Saurabh. While Saurabh waits downstairs. Keshav climbs the mango tree and enters her room. Where, he finds Zara lying dead on her bed.

    Terrified, both Keshav and Saurabh inform the police. SHO Rana of Hauz Khas Police Station reports at the crime scene and starts investigation on fast track. Under media pressure he hauls up Laxman, the security guard of the hostel for the crime.

    The thrill starts after this. When Keshav feels, Laxman is not the real killer, and it is a doing of someone else. So, he decides to go all out, to unravel the crime along with Saurabh. The plot seems quite farfetched as they even travel to Kashmir and come in close contact with a terrorist gang there. The plot doesn’t quite fit with the character of the protagonists—Keshav and Saurabh who are just a faculty with a coaching centre.

    Well … if he is doing it for the cause of unceasing love than obviously the book turns into a tragic love story with an inbuilt murder mystery. The chief protagonist Keshav does mention the word ‘Únlove’ towards the end of the novel which only denotes love in a subtle manner. Or it could even be a marketing gimmick—who knows. The lighter side of the book is filled up by the nok-jhok between Keshav and Saurabh which is interesting.

    Before the murder mystery is solved. The author takes you through all the suspects that includes Zara’s father; Zara’s cousin … Sikander; Professor Saxsena … Zara’s PhD guide; Captain Faiz Khan, Zara’s childhood friend and even Raghu.

    It has angles of honour killing, a terrorist job, jealousy and even a straightforward accident. You’ll find out when you read it. Finally after helicoptering and hovering over a long period of time the suspense eventually lands and unravels.

    The book is in easy read format … somewhat Hinglish at times. It was definitely not a page turner for me and did not impact me in any significant manner. The book is more for the college going students who would be able identify themselves with the plot and the characters therein.

    It is also quite awful when it comes to tenses, punctuation, editing, sentence structuring. But even with all that Chetan Bhagat sells. So isn’t he lucky. Well God is with him.

    I would like to give this book six out of ten.

  Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

Author & Blogger

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

   

BOOK CORNER: THE BEST THING ABOUT YOU IS YOU! … Anupam Kher

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

 

THE BEST THING ABOUT YOU IS YOU

ANUPAM KHER

    It is indeed the unwritten duty of any celebrity to talk about himself as it only benefits people who are struggling, especially the younger generation. After reading this book your respect for Anupam Kher will only go up. Because it takes layers of guts to talk about yourself. Conversely, you have that elbow room to demean yourself when you’ve climbed the ladder to be in the world of the superstars.

    The book is all about Anupam and the ruthless world. And in that he has carved out a fascinating web between the normal dos and the don’ts of the day-to-day existence. But then the big question remains. Why did Anupam write this book? Was it because he had gone bankrupt at the prime of his career as he mentions in the book and he wanted his bankruptcy to appear inconsequential. Or was it that he wanted to publicise his struggle, his success, that he undertook to go up in the eyes of his fans. Or he wanted to tell his fans that the making of someone like Anupam Kher is not an easy task and it is a long drawn battle.

    Any which way you take it. The book conveys a tough message in a very crisp manner. It is an assortment of lovely dictums, quotes, examples, fables, parables, verses, anecdotes and causeries under a single bind.

    Since the beginning of his career Anupam Kher had immense challenges. These challenges only got accentuated when he decided what he wanted to do—become an actor. Now this was not easy, because his father was a low division clerk in Himachal Government and thus a lowly paid employee.

    He devotes the book to his Grandfather, who taught him—‘Bheega hua aadmi barish se nahi darta’ (A drenched man is not scared of rain).

    Now, where was acting and where was Anupam. His one leg was marginally shorter than the other which very few know even today. He already had signs of balding at the age of twenty-three, when he had aspired to become an actor. But then he delivered royally.

    The book in some ways is his own biography. Well decorated and well presented. Anupam is an actor with over 450 films in his repertoire. And an illustrious journey from Shimla to Bollywood. So, you can imagine what he gets to the table. The book has a string of updesh and worldly sermons.

    It has some fifty chapters and each chapter is a lesson by itself. If you run through the book words like … unhappy/know thyself/anger/discontent/analyse yourself/comparison/ change/relationships/happiness/detached/attached/relive/relearn/present/past/understand ourselves/motivation/ego/laugh at yourself/the power within/value yourself/life/fables/handling blues/forgiveness/love/gurus/excess baggage/friends/fear/inhibitions/children/grandparents/hope/a good story/smile/joy/value/failure/friendship/adaptability/today/tomorrow/death

    I’m placing these words for you as it’ll give you a flavour of the book.

    Each chapter is around 4-5 pages on an average. The best part about the book is you can start reading from any page and in any mood. There is no penetrating storyline. And it is all about the tall experiences of Anupam Kher.

    The book is written in easy English that anyone can comprehend. The presentation and optics are wonderful where the publishers, Hay House have done a good job but the persona of the book is more like a coffee-table format. All along the narration Anupam is on the top.

     And finally, as the Greek philosopher Aristotle had sounded long time back. Anupam lives up to it. For him excellence is a matter of habit and not an act. He first excelled in acting and now he is doing so, by penning a book.

    Congratulations to Anupam on this great feat. Friends, pick it up if you want to become like Anupam.

    I would give the book eight out of ten.

    The first reprint of this book was done in 2012.

***

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOKISH VIEW: SUPERSTAR INDIA–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–SHOBHAA DE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

TITLE: SUPERSTAR INDIA

–FROM INCREDIBLE TO UNSTOPPABLE–

SHOBHAA DE

PUBLISHED BY PENGUIN IN 2008– 456 pages 

Abridged for a quick read

 

    The book is full of masala … quite like the proverbial Bhanmati ka pitara—the wonder casket. It seems, whatever, dawned her mind and heart. She just penned it down—so in many ways she has opened her heart. Shobhaa is, as old as independent India. So, she runs through India keeping that in mind, in her flamboyant narrative style. But the content is quite scattered and even skewed at places. In fact any regular gazer of a newspaper or a periodical may find a great amount of familiarity with the content. So, while reading the book the reader might just start reminiscing, where he or she had read it earlier. As ‘SUPERSTAR INDIA’ is not some deeply treasured secret in this day and age of internet, driven by search engines, and the aggressive paper and electronic media. So a lot of it seems to be a lift-off from there. True enough. The book is well styled, well ornamented, orotund, and is quite generous. With the munificent usage of ‘within-the-brackets’ that simplifies or elaborates the meaning of many of its subtle sentences—her aristocratic and well born writing style—I guess. Also, in galore there are ellipses and punctuation marks. The narration is loudly verbose but with sound construct of sentences, of course to zenith the literary astuteness. In a nutshell it is a good detailing of, the already circulating India’s contemporary and ancient history of those times, in a monotonous and drowsy speed and style. Where, she could have sharpened the content by not leaving it open ended and maybe with some sub-chapters and even span breakers.

    Nevertheless, the book also has some latent strengths, within the long spans of boredom. She is indeed very bold and doesn’t spare anyone which is plus point. She brings in a wide range of topics. But it doesn’t tie up all to well, to derive any lessons of life. So an average reader may not find it very interesting. Especially, if he has mistook the book for an interesting stretched out story. Although the title of the book is SUPERSTAR INDIA. But in reality she is more critical than appreciative about her. Where, I’m forced to think. As to why did Shobhaa think of writing this book at all? It remains a mystery to me. Did she want to criticize the West? Or did she want to praise India. Down the line she also criticizes Indian men to raise the flag of Indian women? She praises India only when she compares her with the Western World. Otherwise, she is critical about her most of the times.

    She starts off well with her visit to Agra but then she goes all over the place after some sixty odd pages. Where, she covers personalities, political system, Indian beliefs, Hollywood, Bollywood, the Mayawatis and the ilks, schedule caste and tribe in great detail. 

    She downloads most of what she knows about India. But then it does not add up to a formidable plot. No doubt she throws her heart out, by being abusive, frank and quite unbothered. But all of that doesn’t churn into an interesting read. Let’s not forget the acid test of any book is the impact it leaves behind after you’ve completed it. She has flagged some great facts and some interesting points as mentioned below:

    People still correlate Bollywood with old songs and not the new ones/She appreciates India here and there, but also criticizes her, no end. But when she compares India with the western world she begins to praise her/Describes how India is evolving sexually/Talks about Indian realities/Promotes the Taj Mahal/Paints a picture of Indian hospitality/Book satisfies the Indian ego but only partially. As it even magnifies the chinks of Indian civilzation/Reveals many hidden facts about Indian Corporate Inc/Facts about foreign citizens of Indian origin … like Zubin Mehta and Laxmi Narain Mittal to name a few/India’s great culture of sacrifice/She sounds like an American Born Confused Desi (ABCD) herself. When she makes fun of Indians when it comes to their age old customs and habits/Her views are quite clear about how we treat our elders/describes an Indian family life/ She also talks of metro cities and its cultures but doesn’t go so much in detail about the rural areas barring the established religious and social practices/Indian weddings including destination weddings/Intermittently even speaks of her family/Talks about big brother America and page 3 culture/At quite a few places it is India versus the Western world/Talks of Indian spices in the US/Talks of Indians being superior in many ways where she builds the tempo in certain pages/Very vividly she describes the contemporary lifestyle  of the Indian megapolis/Indian shamelessness while defecating in the open/She even errs out to see love making in Bombay chawls/Bathroom habits/Death rituals/Bombay municipal corporation/Describes Indians as sex machines/Writes quite bluntly about sex/Talks about ‘nazar’—the evil eye. And calls herself a firm believer of that/She even talks of death rituals/ She is very bold and doesn’t spare anyone—is what I liked about the book/She is descriptive but doesn’t connect the dotted lines/ She describes the lives in China and Pakistan quite well.

 Some catchy lines from the book

    ‘When all hell fails, we pull out Gandhi. The Mahatma has saved India’s ass in more ways than one. If he only knew how frequently and arbitrarily we use the Gandhi trick to impress outsiders.’

    ‘Most Indians are like elastic bands, ready to stretch themselves or shrink, depending on circumstances.’

    ‘Adjust’ is a favourite word in India, and is used across the board, even by those who barely speak intelligible English.’

    ‘The trouble is Indians aren’t used to being prosperous. We are more comfortable dealing with poverty—after all, poverty is a staple here, and has been for centuries.’

    Well … if you have the glorious time and patience pick it up.

*****  

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

 

BOLLYWOOD, CRICKET & loc

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

indian-jawan

    At times it appears the Indian Army Jawan, who fights terrorism at the Line of Control is only fighting to save his own house, but in reality he is fighting for all of us. But the tragedy with Indians is that they show no solidarity with him. Our Prime Minister preaches so much about terrorism in all international forums. But back home India is a divided and selfish lot. People from all professions are only self-centered about themselves and their professions. We don’t realise by behaving in this insensitive manner tomorrow, people may desist from fighting for the country. What will happen then? There is indeed a greater need to feel for our brave jawans and we must perennially keep their morale high. Colonel Anil Chawla puts it quite beautifully.

…………………………………..

Col Anil Chawla, a serving soldier of the INDIAN ARMY wrote this:

Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan?

No, it most certainly will not.

BUT there is an emotion called solidarity.

YOU CANNOT MAKE FILMS, PLAY CRICKET, AND DO BUSINESS AS IF EVERYTHING IS FINE, BECAUSE IT IS NOT.

indian-jawan-3indian-jawan2

It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”

This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”

Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?

Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier.

The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.

18 families have been shattered like glass … But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems …”

…………………………………

    Film Stars have nothing to do with terrorism…

    Singers have nothing to do with terrorism ….

    Writers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Directors have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Performers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Journalists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Activists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Cricketers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Politicians have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Businessmen have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Professionals have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Lawyers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Then for whom are the Jawans sacrificing their lives for?

    Jai Hind.

*****

NAWAZUDDIN SIDDIQUI HAS EVERY RIGHT TO ACT IN RAMLILA

Copyright@shravancharitymission

By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

 

By stopping Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Muzaffarnagar, from playing the role of Maaricha, uncle of Ravan, in the local Ramlila, after 20 years, Shiv Sena has stood out like a thorn in the society. Ramlila is a famous play enacted each year, all over India and even abroad. Let me for a moment juxtapose Muzaffarnagar with Lucknow on Ramlila. Both have been holding it since ages. Where, Lucknow is even more famous. For a lot of Muslim actors take part in the local Ramlila, and at times they even go on and on with their acting, even when they are keeping Rozas during Ramzan, if it happens to fall in the same month. This intermingling is the ultimate beauty, of one and only one—India. We are no deep state, but the biggest democracy of the world. Where, Ramlila, Dushera, Durga Puja and Diwali are our tall, widespread, cultural and festive totem-poles. Ramlila is therefore our Indian-ness. That belongs, to we Indians, and not Hindus alone. Nawazuddin is our own son. Rather the worthy son of Muzaffarnagar, and now even of India, who entertains us through his movies. He was born and brought up in Muzaffarnagar. So, Shiv Sena cannot just snatch away the colourful memories of his childhood by not allowing him to act in his home theatre 20 years later. He is free to visit his childhood the way he wants in his own city. Muzaffarnagar is amassed in him, so you just can’t dig it out like that. Shiv Sena needs to understand this. And, last but not the least, you just can’t seize hold of any Indian’s Indian-ness, by just citing his religion, because there is a fine distinction between Religion and Culture.

*****